State health insurance exchanges are a provision of the new health law passed by Congress last year. States can establish and run their own state health care exchange or the exchange will be developed and run by the federal government. Virginia passed legislation in 2011 to create its own health insurance exchange. The state must now choose an exchange model, establish a governing board, customize the exchange to consumer preferences, and establish a Navigator function – someone to help guide consumers through the exchange.
In its continued efforts to be a strong voice for all consumers of health care, particularly those ages 50 or older, AARP in Virginia commissioned a survey of residents ages 18 and older to gauge their awareness and opinion on issues related to the state health insurance exchange.
Key findings included:
- The majority (73%) of respondents strongly agree that all Virginians should have access to affordable, quality health care insurance. Another one in five (19%) somewhat agree.
- While nearly all (89%) Virginians say they have some kind of health insurance, over four in ten (42%) say they or someone close to them has been without health coverage at some point in the past 2 years.
- Most (86%) Virginians say they have not heard, read, or seen anything about a Virginia Health Insurance Exchange, and after learning about it, somewhat more respondents chose one exchange model or the other as working best in the state.
- Virginians feel strongly about consumers or consumer representatives making up the majority of members sitting on the governing board of state health insurance exchange – over eight in ten say they strongly (46%) or somewhat (38%) agree to this condition.
These results are based on a telephone survey fielded September 13 to September 18, 2011 by Woelfel Research, Inc., with 803 interviews completed by a random sample of Virginia residents aged 18 and older. An annotated survey begins on page 4. For more information, please contact Jennifer H. Sauer at 202-434-6207.